The second annual ‘Junior Big Day In’ has seen 900 children take part in a day of fun STEM learning.

Held at Hilltop Road Public School at Merrylands in Sydney’s west for Year 5 and 6 students, the event is designed to encourage primary children to consider careers in ICT.

This year’s Junior event attracted record numbers after Hilltop extended the invitation to eligible students of other primary schools. There was no cost for students to attend.

Over the course of the day, students attended a number of different workshops to acquire new ICT skills in a relaxed environment. They interacted, constructed, and played under the guidance of various Australian technology experts.

Hilltop Rd Public School principal Natalie See said the day provided an opportunity for students to learn from professionals. “It was great to see high levels of engagement and interest from the children.”

Students raced cars on a track to learn about aerodynamics, force, and reaction times; created virtual worlds in Minecraft; built their own web pages; programmed robots; explored virtual reality with headsets; and designed Adobe animations.

One activity saw participants building SolarBuddy solar lights which are then gifted to students in developing countries. The children attach a letter to the light telling the recipient about themselves and their school, and encouraging the receiver to write back. “It makes the children think about their social responsibility,” said See.

Previously only held for high school and tertiary students, the Big Day in was introduced at primary school level in 2015. See said the event was a great success and would “absolutely” be hosting it again next year.

The Big Day In was co-ordinated by ACS Foundation and was supported by partners and presenters from Digital Careers, CSIRO-Crest, Microsoft, Adobe, Westpac, Tata Consultancy Services, F1 in Schools, Wise Tech Global, Technology One, UTS and ACS.